Category Archives: Good food

tomato glut salmorejo

Tomato glut salmorejo

Fresh back from a workation summer in southern Spain (more of that to come in a future blogpost), I am missing A LOT about being away – including salmorejo. Turns out it is super-easy to make at home. Perfect if you’ve got a glut of homegrown tomatoes, Here’s how.

This recipe is a translated (and very slightly amended) version of a salmorejo from an awesomely enthusiastic Spanish chef who runs an organisation called Gastronomia y Fitness (@gastronomiayfit on Twitter, where I discovered him). He is 100% committed to wellbeing through food, fitness and eating well.

Super-delicious recipe

His salmorejo recipe is here. It is super-easy and super-delicious. Much simpler than gazpacho, and used in Spain not just as a soup but also as a sauce. Numerous dishes came with either a small dipping bowl of salmorejo on the side, or a thick smear of this delicious tomato-based puree on the base of the plate, when we were in Sevilla this summer.

Perfect for hot weather, I made some tomato glut salmorejo for lunch today and it took less than 10 minutes. Here’s how (serves two):

Throw 500g of ripe tomatoes and 75g of stale bread cubes in a powerful blender along with a small clove of garlic, 75ml of good olive oil and a tablespoon of white wine vinegar. Blitz until smooth. Thin down with cold water to get the consistency you want (depends on whether you are eating as soup or using as a sauce / puree). Salt to taste (go easy!). Chill until needed.

Blitz your salmorejo
Blitz your salmorejo

Serve either as it comes, or throw on some healthy toppings such as hard boiled egg, herbs, or feta.

TIPS: I used the blender rather than the food processor for a more powerful chop, as I was using tomatoes from the freezer (from my homegrown glut) and tough sourdough bread cubes from the end of a stale homemade loaf. I didn’t bother peeling the tomatoes. It is easy to thin down further with ice cold water if it has thickened up in the fridge.

Thanks, Gastronomia y Fitness for your salmorejo inspo – keep up the good work!

4 best ways to rock veggie January

a rainbow of vegetables for veggie January
Rainbow vegetables: among the joys of  vegetarian January

Another vegetarian January is over, and this has been the least troublesome one ever. So much so that, come Feb 1, I couldn’t think of a meat-based recipe I actually wanted to cook.

So here is my four-point guide to enjoying a delicious, healthful, inspiring month of veggie cooking.

  1. Yotam Ottolenghi: The year we discovered the joys of this genius chef’s cookbook Plenty was the year our vegetarian January became both seriously enjoyable and sustainable. The way he combines ingredients to create mouthwatering dishes is pure genius. I now own the full set of his books, having received a copy of his new Nopi for Christmas, and am itching to try out some of the meaty recipes now veggie Jan is over.
  2. Raw slaw: Hell, I LOVE raw slaw, so in my household it is certainly not just for vegetarian January. I combine any mixture of shredded uncooked beetroot, red cabbage, green or white cabbage, carrot, radish and celeriac with toasted walnut pieces, dried cranberries or sour cherries, and a shredded apple, then dress it with sesame and olive oil, mirin, pomegranate molasses, vinegar and a sprinkle of rock salt. It keeps well in the fridge, so I always make a huge batch and it tides me over for a few days. Delicious alongside griddled halloumi and roasted aubergine (see Ottolenghi for The Best Ever aubergine recipes).
  3. South East Asia: Thai red chicken curry – without the chicken – is now a Feelgood family favourite. I have a tub of homemade red curry paste in the fridge on a permanent basis, meaning it’s a matter of moments to chop up a load of vegetables for this non-meat version that is in fact as tasty as the carnivorous alternative. Just make sure you throw in the veg in order of how long they each take to cook ie green beans, chopped celeriac first and sliced onion first, followed by diced butternut squash, and courgette last.
  4. The wok. Fuchsia Dunlop is another favourite chef, and she includes some brilliant vegetarian versions of her Szechuan meat-based recipes in her inspiring cookbook Every Grain of Rice. Who knew that Ma Po Dofu could be as good without minced beef as with it? Stir-fried greens with garlic and soy sauce were a staple of my student days, and I still love them as much as ever: near raw and therefore bursting with vitamins, they give my veggie January a real healthy zing.

Nourish your digestion

And that’s the key to a successful meat-free start to the year: rather than seeing it as a time of restricted eating, think of it as a time to extend your cooking repertoire, try out new recipes and cooking styles, and a chance to nourish your digestion with more raw foods, unprocessed foodstuffs and lower fat options. It’s easier – and tastier – than you might think.

Marmalade season comes early…

homemade marmalade on toast
Paddington, eat your heart out!

Paddington the movie: I haven’t enjoyed a movie so much since, oh, Interstellar just a couple of weeks ago. But in such a very different way.

The bear movie is pure delight – I laughed all the way through and even shed the odd tear (of joy) – so what more appropriate way to mark it than by knocking up a quick batch of homemade marmalade?

January is normally marmalade season in my house, when the local greengrocer has bitter Seville oranges on offer. But my 2014 batch ran out a few weeks ago (poor planning) so for the first time EVER I went off-piste with a new recipe. Risky, yes. Worth it? 100%.

Pink grapefruit and lemon glows with a pinky orange tinge and its bitterness zings on the tongue. Perfect on toast for breakfast alongside a cup of jasmine green tea.

Thanks for the inspiration, Paddington. Watch the Paddington trailers on YouTube here.

A taste of heaven in Tooting

Cycling through Tooting yesterday, how could I not stop and load my backpack with a box of perfectly ripe Alphonso mangoes? Nestling in tissue paper, lightly scented and with not a bruise or blemish on them, the little beauties taunted me with their sweet scent all the way home. It was all I could do to stop myself ripping into them en route, allowing their rich orange nectar to dribble down my chin.

Alphonso mangoes

Tooting fruity

So if you’re anywhere near southwest London one day soon, head for Tooting Broadway’s street-side stalls, piled high with boxes of the heavenly Alphonso, and get your fill of this feelgood fruit while it’s in season – from now until the end of June/early July. A snip at ¬£5 for a box of six. Heavenly.

Rovin’ in Fitzrovia

Reynolds cafe, Charlotte Street

Reynolds: small portions but perfectly formed

Food find of the day? Cute cafe Reynolds on Charlotte Street. An independent cafe that sells delicious homemade food in non-overwhelming portions.

It was the blackboard out front that lured me in, with its promise of fresh soup, quiches and salads. Throw in a cheerful birdies logo, and I was straight through that door.

And what a revelation! Wraps and mini quiches in just the right size NOT to over-fill. As Reynolds explains, ‘We don’t believe in three square meals a day. We like to eat little and often. That’s why you’ll find our foody items come in smaller portions.

What a refreshing attitude. And what more-ish food. Today’s soup option was tomato and basil (lip-smacking) while mozzarella and prosciutto focaccia slipped down a treat. A neighbourhood gem.

Fabulous fernandez

Fernandez &Wells, Beak Street

Fernandez&Wells, Beak Street

Lunch – we love lunch! And lucky for us, being in central Soho gives myriad grazing options. So many, in fact, we sometimes wonder which delicious cafe to visit next.

Fernandez and Wells in Beak Street (just one of several branches) is a favourite. Friendly staff, drop-dead-gorgeous sandwiches, soups and pannini plus knock-your-socks-off coffee and homemade cakes that rival the ones your mum makes. Today’s fave bake: plum Victoria sponge that looked like it had come straight from Mary Berry’s kitchen. Yes, cake is good for you if it’s homemade, everyone knows that, right?

Definitely feelgood and highly recommended.